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Mr. P. J. Pears "Eternal Solar" (Manchester, United Kingdom)

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Price: £1.53

5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable debut novel, 6 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Frankie (Kindle Edition)
Looking closely at family relationships and parental separation this debut novel is primarily from the point of view of othe young 'Frankie', daughter of two parents going through a painful breakdown.

The chapters regularly jump from character viewpoint to character viewpoint, sometimes in the same paragraph. This writing style effectively catches the breakdown of a family, conveying the confused emotions of all parties. Throw into this a mystery 'whodunnit' story and you have a concise, short novel that has one or two interesting plot twists hidden within...

While the book starts slow and ends prehaps too quickly this interesting mix of family drama, growing up and an element of mystery makes for a convincing, highly readable first book from H.A Holmes.

Grid 2 - Race Day Edition (Xbox 360)
Grid 2 - Race Day Edition (Xbox 360)
Offered by EUROGAMES
Price: £8.49

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Good, The Meh and The Ugly, 6 Jun 2013
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Grid 2 is probably inferior to Grid 1, however certainly in some areas, particularly presentation and physics have all been dramatically changed. If you are wondering whither or not you will like this game it probably comes down to your love of car customization, cock-pit views and 'big' races. If the last three don't bother you then this game is a good, competent racer. Still not sure? Then how about the good, the meh and the ugly?

The Good
+ Production Values
The graphics are fantastic, visually there is a lot of detail from the newspapers sweeping across the road to the glitter of distant fireworks. The longer coastal and mountain tracks in particular look superb. Damage effects are also great and the music on a final lap of a championship really amps the tension.
+ Multiplayer Madness
Add a dozen racers with persistent damage, no flash-backs and crazy anarchy reigns, yes it is possible to get a 'proper' race but most of the time it devolves into a brutal game of shoving, raging and seat-of-your-pants racing, if you like that = great.
+ Variable Physics
The cars really do feel different, the changes between how each car grips the road or how much is weighs can make a real effect on your race plan. If you like that sort of thing, then great, if you don't like lots of drifiting skip this one and proceed to 'The Bad'.
+ Split-Screen Racing
Always nice to remember there are still people that enjoy playing games in the same room rather then with the delightful masses of homophobic/racist ten year old Americans.

The Meh
~ No Cockpit View
I never use it except to try (and fail) to impress my other half, but if you like it...its not here.
~ AI
Some people say its great, smart, aggressive and dynamic. Others say its rubbish sticking just to lines. My view? Its a bit of both but thank goodness its not as suicidal as it used to be!
~ Lack of Customization
Again, not something that bothers me, but if you are into decals, color schemes, changing your car suspension etc, not here in the single player. Likewise no buying cars in single player.
~ 'Story Mode'
Gone are the smultzy rivalry's of Toca (boy i miss those) replaced by a streamlined, slick and non-invasive voice overs and live action videos where people talk about how amazing you are. It's fine for what it is but Grid 1 had a better campaign layout. One day we will get some crazy triple A race game which takes a 'Mortal Kombat' approach to racing games like this (which is to say a crazy overblown story of rivals, love interests, grumpy retired race-coaches and hopefully the 'ultimate showdown of ultimate racing')...sorry what were we talking about?

The Bad
- Flashbacks
Wait! Wait! The flashback system is really good, thank goodness the days of restarting a whole race are over and done with! However...remember Grid 1? Where you could have amazing, crazy crashes then flashback and watch it in slow-mo while moving the camera around the glorious carnage? Gone. Replaced by a one speed rewind where you press (Y) to restart the race from. Streamlined but soulless, ugh.
- Driftastic
Mario-kart it ain't. Nevertheless there is a lot of drifting, a lot greater emphasis on sliding round corners instead of careful breaking and following the racing line. This becomes very frustrating when you fail to drift correctly and skid into the nearest invincible signpost. This is'nt due to a particular lack of skill, its just that if you are used to a more simulated form of racing then it can be a bit of a steep learning curve.
- Lack of Features
Destruction derby? - gone
Le-Mans race? - gone
Epic longer races? - gone
More then 12AI in a race? - gone
There are other things I could probably list but it does feel like a few things missed the cut, certainly the location list isn't that impressive, only a handful of real tracks and some variable city ones. The mountain and coastal ones do look very nice but you will do them again...and again. Grid original surpasses Grid 2 when it comes to tracks, features and variety.
- Day 1 DLC
Day 1 DLC is a cancer in the video-game industry (okay, okay, maybe not as bad as always online DRM) and Grid 2 comes with a bunch of it as well as the constant nagging to upgrade for a season pass for more money, what...was £40 not enough?

Anyway, hope that helps someone, it is a good racer overall, certainly good to watch and you will get a buzz out of it...but the lack of features and general...lack of soul, and by that i mean there is no awesome slow-mo flashbacks, no epic 24hr le-mans, no customization just a constant invitation for 'season passes' and further DLC, that is soullessness. But hey, great bargain bin racer if you can get it.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2013 12:00 AM BST

DISGAEArt!!! Disgaea Official Illustration Collection
DISGAEArt!!! Disgaea Official Illustration Collection
by Takehito Harada
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Chock full of wonderful, varied art!, 9 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
From start to finish almost every single page is filled with fantastic art. Split into five sections covering - Disgaea 1/2/3/4 and 'The world of Disgaea' with artwork from the Prinny games and TV animated series its just under 200pgs in length. The artwork is mostly Takehito Harada, the artist for all the Disgaea games, the book containts a mixture of promotional art, book covers, soundtrack art, in-game artwork, character art and the game covers. For us, outside Japan a lot of this artwork will be new and unfamiliar except for the in-game art. The book is well bound with high quality paper and a glossy front cover.

Most of the art work is full page prints, a lot of them are characters in the zany and crazy poses we know and love them for - focused a lot more on the female characters perhaps (this is not a bad thing!) There are unfortunately no interviews or real text inside the book to speak of apart from an introduction and index at the back. Get this book to enjoy the creativity that has gone into the Disgaea series, a must for collectors or fans of the game series or the anime style in general.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Standard Edition (Xbox 360)
Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Standard Edition (Xbox 360)
Offered by games-wizard
Price: £9.75

35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overall a tremendous improvement on what came before..., 7 Feb 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
It was with no small amount of trepidation that I approached Final Fantasy XIII-2, FFXIII got so much wrong that it was enough (along with the disaster that was Final Fantasy XIV) for Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada to remark that `The Final Fantasy brand has been greatly damaged', no kidding.

See, many of us have grown up with the Final Fantasy brand, we remember the opening of FFIV backed by Nobuo Uematsu's mighty score, Cloud and Aerith in FFVII and of course that laughter scene in FFX. However when FFXIII finally came out most of us discovered a series that had stubbornly refused to mature and grow up with the times. While today western RPG's from Dragon Age and the Witcher series to the Mass Effect trilogy present dark worlds inhabited by deep, complex characters, difficult storyline choices where good and evil are often blurred and multiple playthroughs are rewarded. Compared to these, FFXIII with its hateful anime/jrpg clichés, the usual mix of perky, one-dimensional characters, awful scriptwriting ("Operation Nora"), worrying ecchi relationships, villains which were designed with more thought for their wardrobe then their motivations and this is before I get to the lack of towns/shops/free choice/thirty hour tutorial and `the tube' that never-ending corridor of moving from A to B endlessly. When you can watch all the cutscenes on youtube without playing the game and feel comfortable you haven't missed anything then you know the Final Fantasy series is in trouble...

Anyway enough about FFXIII, let's talk about Final Fantasy XIII-2, well Sakaguchi, Nojima and Uematsu, the old guard of Final Fantasy are long gone, instead directing the game we have Motomu Toriyama (FFX/FFX-2) with Masashi Hamauzu (FFX) on the soundtrack and Kitase (veteran of Final Fantasy) producing. They clearly put a lot of effort into responding to the criticism against FFXIII. The game is now open-ended including time-travel, alternative realities, dialogue choices and hidden endings. Shops are back (albit with fan service and giant wings), towns are back and looking better than ever (from villages by the sea to future metropolises). Moveable cameras, a faster pace of battles, monster collecting and dozens of side quests and optional content to keep you very busy!

Opening with a very exciting and dramatic video (only a handful of which are in FFXIII-2) we see Lightning (the only character worth a damn in FFXIII + Sazh) leading a massive army of monsters against the shadowy Caius and his own army. Massive meteors drop, summons are utilised, it's all very exciting. Caius himself is the sort of villain FFXIII could really have used, compelling, driven to succeed and you can actually emphasis with him. While he doesn't get as much scene time as he deserves, his presence really does help to drive the story (voiced by vetern Liam O'Brian who did Kain from FFIV and Gaara from Naruto to name just two roles!)

After this quick introduction control switches permanently to Serah (Lightnings younger sister) and newcomer, `the last living human of the future' Noel who has come back in time to change the future. While there is mostly a distinctive lack of chemistry between the two they make for a fine duo, Serah is easy-going and inoffensive, Noel is mysterious enough and semi-aloft. The overall excellent voice acting really helps to sell the characters in their struggle across space and time.

The story here is much shorter then FFXIII (you can get through it in 20hrs) but there is a lot of additional content from slot machines to hunting down `fragments' in time. The battle system is the only thing really not to have changed dramatically, it's still set to `auto-battle' by default but a host of smaller improvements make a meaningful difference, paradigm shifts are now instantaneous, a party leader being downed is no longer a game over and some dramatic quick-time events spice up major battles.

Your third party slot is now filled by a `tameable' monsters (of which there are over 150!..I think) which are swapped in and out with your paradigm shifts and have their own individual stats, can be accessorised, named, combined and a host of other interesting features. Certainly the battles are far more interesting then FFXIII (debatably easier maybe) and even more fast paced, just don't expect any eidolons to show up and transform into a stealth jet.

So the main characters are good, battle system is much improved, the new freedom to explore areas (some of the maps are very complex with multiple levels/entrances etc etc) makes the game much more open and enjoyable. The ability to save anywhere along with the ability to travel through time to another destination at any time rewards exploration and `messing' around. The graphics are good, not quite up to the standards of FFXIII but with a controllable camera that's to be expected, overall the art/character design is solid (mostly). The core voice actors do a great job although not all characters get such care and its normal to hear the same conversation quips from citizens as you explore around town. The soundtrack is worth particular mention as being particularly good boosted with a large number of vocal tracks.

So yes, Final Fantasy XIII-2 is most certainly an improvement on FFXIII, it is a scattershot attempt to right all the wrongs of Final Fantasy XIII, with regards to the story it maybe goes too far...FFXIII was complex enough before time travel, fragments and other realities got involved and at times you can be left scratching your head at the exposition dumps and technobable that would make Piccard blush.

Still the attempt to deliver a highly playable JRPG that addresses the shortcomings of its predecessor are laudable. If you completed FFXIII and thought it was `meh' or it was `good' then go get Final Fantasy XIII-2 now - you will enjoy it. If you got half way through FFXIII or have completed many of the older FF games wait a bit, read around and wait for that price drop. If FFXIII left you distraught and angry then truthfully FFXIII-2 is not probably going to be able to bring you around - why not go and buy the Metal Gear Solid HD collection? FFXIII-2 shows JRPG's can still be relevant and interesting and although it still feels like they are running to try and keep up with Skyrim and the like they are still there and highly enjoyable for those that enjoy a good JRPG. FFXIII-2 has been worth the money and good fun, this is what we should have gotten back in 2010. Overall it gives me hope that the inevitable Final Fantasy XV will be something special to live up to our memories of this excellent although increasingly challenged series.

The collector's edition comes in a larger box and includes,
- A snazzy lenticular/3D print of Lightning
- 6 CG postcards of the main characters
- An impressive mini artwork book on FFXIII-2
- A soundtrack CD with six tracks of music
It's a nice little set but only worth getting if you can get it for a similar price of the standard edition!
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 10, 2012 5:50 PM BST

Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The best blog on Kindle, 24 Nov 2011
This review is from: openDemocracy (Kindle Edition)
Regularly updated, thoughtfully penned articles covering social/political matters of all types from around the world. To give you an idea of what sort of articles you can expect here are some of the articles from the last few days.

- Support a world-wide awakening
- 'The Somalia dilemma
- Fixing Russian elections: manipulation (voters) and massage (results)
- Democracy put to the test
- Brazil: woman's work vs men's mess
- Torture and the Arab system, old and new
- American leadership and a system failure
- Economic and social good sense requires the UK to target a lower exchange rate
- The tactical cosmopolitanism of migrants
- Mad Women on the March
- An arch-visionary of Canterbury
- South Africa's political duel: Zuma vs Malema

Negima! Omnibus 1 (Negima!: Magister Negi Magi Omnibus)
Negima! Omnibus 1 (Negima!: Magister Negi Magi Omnibus)
by Ken Akamatsu
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best Shonen Manga available, 24 Oct 2011
Negima - the latest work from Ken Akamatsu (Love Hina) has been running now since 2003 and despite initially seeming to be another harem/romance manga like Love Hina, Negima has fully separated itself from that series to become one of the best shonen/action/romance/comedy manga's out of there. I have read a lot of shonen action manga's over the years, Naruto is a good series but runs at a snail's pace, Bleach got repetitive, Historys Strongest Disciple has dissolved into fan service, One Piece is too bizarre and Yu Yu Hakashu ended prematurely. These are all great action manga's (along with many others) in their own right and will have legions of followers who will swear that 'they' are the best shonen manga out there these and yet for me, Negima remains the most enjoyable, action-packed manga out there - why?

The set up for Negima initially seems bizarre. Negi Springfield (aged 10) from Wales dreams of becoming a Magister Magi and as part of his studies is sent to Japan to become an English teacher at the all girls school of Mahora Academy for a class of 31 older girls. Between his magic studies and work as a school teacher he is on the hunt for his father, Nagi, the legendary 'Thousand Master' believed to be dead.

Thus the first volume introduces Negi and he is as overawed and confused by his class of 31 ladies as the reader is, what quickly separates this series from many others is that over time, each of the 31 ladies (plus many other supporting female and male characters) becomes fully developed and integrated into the story. Many other authors would struggle to make each character individual and special, yet Akamatsu largely succeeds, hence why each character has a fan club of some description back in Japan... Many of the characters are indeed anime clichés, there's the 'bookish' one, 'the jock,' 'the reporter,' 'the computer nerd,' etc etc. However despite these clichés and the repetition of some of his older character traits from Love Hina (Asuna = Naru) some of the twists are surprising, the character friendships well done and their personal growth interesting. Following your 'favourite' character and never being sure what will happen to them is very fun, some of the most surprising characters (as in, some of the ones that would never see the light of day in other mangas) get a lot of development and chapter time which really helps put this ahead of its rivals.

Negi himself as the lone 10yr old male is the exact opposite of Keitaro in Love Hina, competent, kind, well-mannered and polite its easy to actually like the main character rather than face-palming whenever they do/say something stupid. Negi, his growth in strength, experience as a teacher and his battle to keep his magical powers a secret from his pupils is funny and genuine. The girls rush of affection for him (ranging from 'love-love' to 'awwww') sometimes nearly crosses the line into perverted and 'awkward romance' but is largely just played for laughs and satire at other romantic amines.

As Shonen manga's go, this has plenty of action from brawls/sword-fights to end of the world boss battles. All the villains and opponents are interesting and the story arcs which include vampires, a martial arts tournament, a kidnapping and the like are interesting and don't overstay their welcome. Unlike Naruto, Bleach and many other Shonen fight scenes don't last for several books making each panel critical to the flow of combat. The magical spells and the like are dazzlingly drawn and each is expanded in a commentary section at the back.

As for the art, Akamatsu makes liberal use of computer aided design for a large number of backgrounds which enables him to do his favourite thing - draw absurdly attractive women. There is a lot of fan service, particularly in the first few volumes, it moderates eventually and is mostly played for gags but still - there is a lot more than most Shonen manga (barring 'History's Strongest Disciple')The art is always detailed, interesting and clean, some drawings are very congested however with the text barely squeezed in!

Negima! Omnibus 1 includes the first three volumes of Negima including his arrival and introduction to the school, a quest for an ancient magical book and the arrival of a vampire on the school campus. This is just the tip of an epic book series which is currently still ongoing (Approaching chapter 350 now!) with each story arc getting progressively longer. However reading the first three volumes is probably the best way to start allowing you to see what you can expect for the next 35+ books)

These are just a few of the reasons I would recommend Negima happily to anyone. It's not going to please anyone looking for just an action manga (check out Berserk) nor is it just a magic/fantasy manga (Try One Piece). If you are looking for something that covers a whole range of genres, is funny, interesting and enjoyable, Negima is one of the best shonen manga's out there and I heartily recommend it.

Best for - Age 14+

Tactics Ogre - Premium Edition (PSP)
Tactics Ogre - Premium Edition (PSP)
Offered by GameExplorers
Price: £27.98

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete work of passion and a great remastering of the tactical RPG classic!, 14 Mar 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Of the many remakes and ports over the years to the PSP the new revamped Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is not only one of the best tactical RPG's on the PSP but also one of the finest remakes on any console. A completely overhauled experience from its 1995 SNES origins it benefits hugely from a new translation, graphical overhaul and re-mastered soundtrack, Tactics Ogre is a complete work of passion and a reminder that Square Enix can still do a very good job when they really try (the less painful memories from Final Fantasy XIII and XIV the better!)

Tactics Ogre places you in the shoes of a young man struggling to bring stability to the Islands of Valeria which are wracked by conflict between three warring ethnic groups warring for control of the Islands. The story is hard-hitting and director Yasumi Matsuno (Final Fantasy XII, Vagrant Story) was directly inspired by the events that unfolded during the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990's and the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. Class conflict between radicals and moderates, acts of terrorism and wide scale civilian slaughter serve are just a part of a story that can be both tragic and shocking. Leading a band a characters, all with personal motivations, allegiances and flaws ranging from the heroic to the sinister it's a testament considering the miniature sprites on screen it is surprising how attached you can get to the characters and how effective and compelling the story is.

Tactics Ogre starts you off with a relatively small roster of characters which quickly grows up to become a small army from which up to twelve characters can participate in the isometric tactical battles which the original release of Tactics Ogre was largely responsible for defining in the first place. Each character moves according to its speed stat and how many actions it has done in a turn or how many places it has moved. Elevation, terrain and line of sight all come into play with regards to how the combat will be resolved.

The original game was characterised by a somewhat brutal difficulty level which is addressed by two major new changes for the new Tactics Ogre. Firstly there is the new, optional CHARIOT system, this smart feature remembers the last fifty combat moves allow you to backtrack to any action and start again before you made a wrong move that lead to the death of one of your characters or the decimation of your team. While the CHARIOT system certainly stacks the odds in favour of the player the system is, as mentioned, entirely optional (and the game will track how many skirmishes are cleared without it) so it's perfect for players new to the strategic RPG sub-genre or people who want to see that each character will make it through to the ending (as in this game characters can die permanently which often resulting in changes to the story).

The second new change is to the levelling system. Rather than levelling individuals it is the characters `class' system which levels up instead. Thus once your archer class reaches level twelve, all other archers be they veterans or newly recruited units will be at that same level. However this new system doesn't reduce the characters individual customization in the slightest, after each conflict units earn skill points from combat which can be invested into any of a long list of skills. These skills allow options such as, wading through water, using a class of magic, deflecting arrows etc. Since the list of skills you can equip to each unit is limited it becomes very important to deploy a varied party rather than just knights and mages. The only downside of the changes to the class system is that the more advanced classes that appear towards the end of the game will require a lot of standing at the very back of the map to gain the experience to level up safely.

However one of the greatest new additions to the game doesn't even come into play until the end of your first playthrough. Completing the story mode unlocks the `World Tarot' system which allows you to revisit various `anchoring points' in the story and chose different plot options. Throughout the story many different conversation choices must be made opening the plot into numerous different branches with radically different (and often, tragic) outcomes. A first playthrough is likely to last between thirty and forty hours but on completing the game and being able to explore the full extent of the story with your roster of characters will increase the games lifespan well past a hundred hours. Now instead of fearing how each decision will affect the rest of the game it can be liberating to explore the different outcomes of your choices. There are no definitive `good' or `evil' choices that have to be made; instead the options that must be made are rather there to make you decide if the ends justify the means. It's regrettable that some of Square-Enix's most recent RPG's such as Final Fantasy XIII can't match the maturity and character told here.

Multiplayer is included, however it's strictly limited to downloading and battling AI-controlled versions of another players party. While the lack of a full suite of multiplayer modes is not a deal breaker it is disappointing that so little has been done here.

The presentation of the game likewise is a mixture of old and new, character sprites remain blocky and small however the character portraits and spell effects are much more impressive, the overall richness of colour is a tribute to the art direction. The excellent translation and dialogue further adds to the depth of the story. Likewise while the sound effects that go with the characters are squeaky and unimpressive the sweeping remastered soundtrack by Hitoshi Sakimoto (Final Fantasy XII, Valkyria Chronicles)is fantastic, perfectly complementing the mood and should be played with headphones on.

The mature and well developed story is defiantly one of the main reasons to buy this game. It's a complex story with plenty of text bubbles to read and comparatively few voiced sequences. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is however also well worth playing for its well-balanced party customization options and its excellent tactical combat. Don't let the sprite heavy, text intensive presentation put you off, anyone that truly enjoys deep, meticulously crafted RPG's will enjoy every second of this offering.

PREMIUM EDITION - The game comes in a larger, well designed box, inside is a hardback, 44pg book with some character art, there is no extra information or world maps or the like which is a bit of a shame. The soundtrack is a UMD disc with 6 pieces including the Tactics Ogre overture. Nothing notable, but for the same price as the standard edition, obviously the better buy!)
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 21, 2011 2:47 AM GMT

BlazBlue: Continuum Shift - Limited Edition (Xbox 360)
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift - Limited Edition (Xbox 360)
Offered by SupaStock
Price: £8.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy expansion of the original, bursting with content!, 31 Jan 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
If you were one of the few who picked up Arc Systems original BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger last year then you will have enjoyed one of the most unique and exciting fighting game available. Wonderful, hand-drawn 2D sprites, fast, frenetic and deep combat, a proper story mode made it one of the sleeper hits of 2010. Now, Arc Systems has deployed `Continuum Shift,' half way between an sequel and a revision (Similar to Super Street Fighter IV) the game packs in tons of new modes, characters and a great deal of extra content to provide one of the most time consuming fighting games out there.

For those that don't know, the BlazBlue series is the spiritual successor to Arc Systems previous franchise, Guilty Gear. Its strong emphasis on tactical one-on-one fighting mechanics combined with a very fast pace make it hard to master, however remarkably easy to pick up with the traditional four-button layout for weak, medium and strong attacks. The fourth button is unique to each character known as the `Drive' command and varies from deploying turrets, freezing enemies solid, charging a weapon, draining health and more. The fifteen strong list of characters isn't a high number but each offers a very unique playing style which can take dozens of hours to master. Gamers should be aware that there are more then a few DLC options including additional characters which really should have been included in the game instead of optional purchases.

Therefore to the newcomer or the veteran, Continuum Shift offers an extensive `Tutorial' mode which is an excellent way to learn the games extensive mechanics. Complementing this, the `Challenge' mode aims to teach each combo for every character complete with CPU demonstrations.

After gaining the ability to round off a twenty-hit combo you can move onto the `Arcade' mode for quick action, `Verses' for one-on-one combat, `Score-Attack,' an insanely difficult mode with scores uploaded to the internet, `Legion' a strategic mode where players capture enemy nodes on a map building a team from defeated enemies building up to a boss and like the last BlazBlue excellent, almost lag-free online play.

The story mode carries on from the last games convoluted and insanely deep story, told through text bubbles and static character images. It may not be that fun to read pages and pages of speech before, you-know, actually beating something up, but the game redeems this with multiple endings, hilarious `gag-endings' and if you get the worst ending you'll be derided by one of the characters and lectured on how best to proceed complete with pop-culture references and extensive breaking of the fourth-wall.

Blazblue is an excellent fighter with a huge amount of content and unlockables, the beautiful 2D sprites are complemented by a driving soundtrack and a sometimes hilarious English dub (although the option to play in Japanese remains). Well balanced and diverse the characters of Blazblue demand your attention, if you haven't played the original this is defiantly the best way to experience one of the most excellent fighting games out there.

Distant Worlds: Music From Final Fantasy
Distant Worlds: Music From Final Fantasy
Offered by ffdistantworlds
Price: £11.75

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and Magnficent, a perfect CD for Final Fantasy fans, 3 Jan 2011
This CD represents a superb collection of 13 pieces of classic Final Fantasy music. While the pieces are all from past Final Fantasy games (running from FFI to FFXI) they have been adapted and changed to a wonderful sweeping score performed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. The music includes a bit of everything from bombastic, explosive pieces of music to subtle chorus and choir pieces. It also includes the 12min opera scene from Final Fantasy VI (Opera "Maria and Draco") wonderfully realised and supported by three superb singers as well as a performance of One Winged Angel from Final Fantasy VII. Bottom line, Final Fantasy fans will greatly enjoy this, the music is constantly enjoyable and fantastic and anyone with fond memories, particularly from FFVI to VIII will enjoy this lovely compilation of music.

The tracks are,

1 - Opening-Bombing Mission (FFVII) 4:00
2 - Liberi Fatali (FFVIII) 3:13
3 - Aerith's Theme (FFVII) 5:46
4 - Fisherman's Horizon (FFVIII) 4:52
5 - Don't be Afraid (FFVIII) 3:42
6 - Memoro de la Stono-Distant Worlds (FFXI) 8:32
7 - Medley 2002 (FF1/III) 8:02
8 - Theme of Love (FFIV) 5:20
9 - Vamo' alla Flamenco (FFIX) 4:12
10 - Love Grows (FFVIII) 5:07
11 - Opera "Maria and Draco" (FFVI) 12:13
12 - Swing de Chocobo (FF) 4:31
13 - One-Winged Angel (FFVII) 4:26

Total Runtime - 74:32

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World [DVD]
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Cera
Offered by The Happy Zombie
Price: £3.50

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic DVD and a funny, quirky and unique film!, 25 Dec 2010

Like others before seeing the film I had never read the comics, having now read the entire series I can attest to the film being highly enjoyable for both fans of the comics and to those who have never seen it. Director Edgar Wright brings his own stylistic choices to the series but with the creator of the books, Bryan Lee O'Malley, lending extensive support to the film the end result is a very enjoyable adaptation of a remarkable series of graphic novels.
The film itself has a slow start (and a nauseating credit role as well unfortunately) but this serves as an enjoyable contrast with the later action. The scenes themselves are lovingly shot in Toronto itself and the attention to detail and special effects are outstanding. One thing in particular which seems remarkable is how much fun the actors and actresses are having (particularly Satya Bhabha and Chris Evans as Evil Ex 1&2). The films many references and homage's to classic games ('look I can play the Final Fantasy II base line') to anime and comics (spot the Akira reference for example), those for whom Nintendo and anime means little or nothing (and those over 30) are likely to find the film more difficult to enjoy and at time befuddlining with its eye popping special affects, pop-culture references and rapid fight scenes, the music is always diverse and exciting (featuring some great songs). One could complain that the final third of the film can drag a little, the final fight scene, while epic, drags on longer then it should, plus some of the more interesting side characters from the books are never touched on and others such as Kim Pine and Stephen Stills could have used some more development.
However as a whole the film is both funny, touching and exciting, anyone who enjoys video games, anime, comics etc will find it doubly so, 8.5/10


The DVD package is excellent, inside a nice shinny slipcase there are two discs filled with hours of extras. Disc One, apart from having the movie itself also has an alternative ending, some very funny outtakes, commentary and gallery. The second disc is crammed with extras, a full 50 minute documentary on 'The Making of Scott Pilgrim' which is highly enjoyable, a series of videos looking at the visual and sound effects, trailers, a very funny 'TV safe' version of the film with the sections with bad language having silly words inserted instead. Along with several other extras there is also the 4 minute short 'Scott Pilgrim VS the animation' an animated segment that looks back at Scott's history with Kim Pine (basically being a retelling of the second books, first chapter) it was so much fun I wish there were more shorts like it. Excellent package, 10/10

Conclusion - If you enjoyed the books or are looking for an inventive, unique film there is nothing quite as funny and enjoyable as this.
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